Track & Field Teams Building Culture Of Success

GOBEARCATSDOTCOM All-American Eric Finan
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
All-American Eric Finan
GOBEARCATSDOTCOM
Track & Field |

June 30, 2011

By Mario Cannon
GoBEARCATS.com

The 2011 University of Cincinnati's men's and women's track and field outdoor season was filled with championships and great accomplishments. Overall both teams accumulated a total of three All-Americans, three BIG EAST champions, one Junior National qualifier, 16 NCAA First Round qualifiers, and three NCAA Final round qualifiers.

In a sport filled with individual accolades and praise, a team showed up for competition giving all they had. Countless injuries caused athletes to step into new, needed roles and events, while others had to maintain theirs. Sophomore Shanay Portis from the women's team is a great example of a person who became the second-best sprinter on the team and was expected to be mainly a long jumper before the 2011 outdoor season began, until she sprained her foot jumping during the indoor season. Chase VanCura is another person who took on needed roles, as a specialist in the 400 meter dash, but always dependable for the 200 meter dash, 4x100 and 4x400 meter relays.

The women's team was filled with talent that lived up to its overall potential. UC women's head coach Susan Seaton credits the season's performance to the coaching staff's reevaluation of the team during the 2010 summer.

"The overall theme was, we are better than this," Seaton said.

Heading into the 2011 season, an attitude adjustment was made amongst the coaches and returning athletes, which raised the level of expectation. The women's team in particular had an outstanding freshmen class, with the likes of Mary Bridges, the Junior National Championship qualifier, and Frida Akerstrom, who scored points in two individual events at the BIG EAST Championship.

 

 

"They came into an environment where everyone decided to push for their best and try to achieve," Seaton said.

Overall, Seaton was satisfied with her team's performance in 2011.

"I think we had a great season," Seaton said proudly of the women's team. "If you look at the statistics, (it was) our best season in the school's history. We finished the highest spot in the conference we ever have, indoor and outdoor. We were able to be sixth (in both) and were very close to breaking into the top-five in the conference. We had a number of people finish in the top-three." Like the women, the UC men exceeded expectations as well.

"We really had quite a good season," longtime head coach Bill Schnier said. "We won the Early Bird Relays and the Oliver Nikoloff Invitational. The All-Ohio Championship was disappointing (when) we placed fourth. We've done better than that. Sixth in the BIG EAST was a good accomplishment this year. The fact that we qualified five for the NCAA First Round showed individual talent and the fact that we had two All-Americans, Terence Somerville and Eric Finan says we had stand outs nationally."

Each team had several phenomenal standout athletes. "There's no question highlights had a lot do with Eric and Terence," Schnier said. "Not completely, but those guys are amazing."

Somerville, the hurdler who was once ranked fifth in the world in the indoor 60 meter hurdles, was a huge attribute to the team running times that challenged Olympic silver medalist David Payne's record of 14.42 seconds. He is currently only two hundredths of a second short with short a 14.44 mark, recorded at the BIG EAST Championships. That effort earned Somerville BIG EAST Most Outstanding Track Performer honors at the conference championship one week after winning the Maury White Award at the Drake Relays as the most outstanding performer there as well.

The other BIG EAST Champion, Finan consistently ran great times in the 5,000 meter race, setting a school record of 13:49.80 at the Polytan Invitational. He displayed great discipline to maintain his composure in the NCAA Final Round of the 5K; finishing 10th against some of the nation's other exceptional collegiate athletes.

Junior Kathy Klump, the women's team NCAA Final Round qualifier and the 2011 BIG EAST Indoor 500 meter Champion had a fantastic year after beating her own personal records almost every time she ran.

Senior Natasha Burse, an NCAA First Round qualifier in the 100 meter dash, 200 meter dash and 4x100 meter relay, was one of the greatest contributors to the team's success as the leading point scorer in every meet this year.

As a group, the women's 4x400 relay (Portis, senior Ashley Arnold, Klump, and junior Aricka Rhodes) had the most impressive performances throughout the outdoor season, breaking the school record at every meet but the Drake Relays.

"Frankly, I was amazed by the 4x4, how they performed," Seaton said. "Watching them maximize their abilities was pretty cool."

Seaton and Schnier both feel their team's overall effort were good and showed togetherness. The individuals were great and exciting, but the team coming together as a whole made the biggest impact. From competition to support, the strength in numbers was visible. Friendship and chemistry ran deep between the two teams after training year round with one another.

"It was more an attitude amongst the team," Seaton said, as she explained how the togetherness came about. "We really want to get some things done. We want to have a good season. We're good athletes. We need to come together as a team. I don't think it was one or two people; I think it was the whole group who had that attitude."

"By in-large, the team had a very positive attitude," Schnier added.

Schnier, like Seaton is very proud of his athletes, but feels they can do more for next season.

"We're in a position to have one the best teams we've ever had and I would say the 2003 team (the Conference USA Championship team) was the best we ever had," Schnier said, when discussing the direction he feels the team is moving in.

"We've have some headliners, five people who went to the first round (of nationals); Chris Littleton who went last year, and Brian Zimmerman who went to the national finals the year before that. So there are seven people who are returning that have been there. In addition, we may have had the best recruiting class we've ever had. So we're restocking ourselves with that. Finally, most people are back from last year."

"I really feel that we're just starting," Seaton said. "I feel like we finally got things in place where there is a confidence level. There is a quality of athlete; there is a good attitude within the team. There is a culture of success now and we want to build on that culture of success."

Both teams have a lot to look forward to next year and loads of potential. In the words of Coach Schnier, "They have to decide to be good." Which simply means doing whatever it takes to be successful and believing it will happen.

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Gunner Kiel impresses at UC football's spring game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Youthful UC can make its own history next season

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's defense makes statement in latest scrimmage

    FanIQ.com

    Remember Gunner Kiel? He's Ready to Dominate

    SportsIllustrated.com

    Hank Hughes Q&A

    New York Times

    Growing as a Player, Beaming as a Father

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    NCAA Tournament is 'Cincinnati vs. the world'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Kiel comes out strong in Bearcats' spring scrimmage

    Sporting News

    2013-14 Men's Basketball All-Americans

    Fox Sports

    Cincinnati made me a believer

    CBS Sports.com

    Former redshirt Sean Kilpatrick finishing out historic career

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Q&A with UC AD Mike Bohn

    ESPN

    Brennan's Wooden Watch: Week 14

    MLSSoccer.com

    Fit and healthy, Omar Cummings offering a new dynamic up top for Houston Dynamo

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Men's soccer signee Clark named Gatorade Ohio player of the year

    ESPN

    Munchie Legaux and Shaq Washington gain extra year

    Denver Post

    Mike Bohn eager to point Cincinnati Bearcats in right direction as AD

    The Washington Post

    No. 7 Bearcats have highest ranking in 10 years

    Yahoo! Sports

    How Sean Kilpatrick willed UC past Louisville and back into the nation's consciousness

    SI.com

    Cincinnati takes over AAC with win at Louisville

    ESPN.com

    Tough Bearcats don't get rattled

    ESPN.com

    UC staves off Temple to stay perfect in AAC

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC looks to 15-year sports admin vet Reed-Francois for interim AD

    CBS Sports

    No. 15 Cincinnati stomps UCF, wins 11th straight

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats take down USF 61-54, win 10th straight

    USA Today

    Why Cincinnati is not a team to sleep on

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Short-handed Bearcats cautious about ranking

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's goal: win them all at home

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Cronin: Not easy, but Cats got through fatigue

    The News Record

    What you missed in UC sports during break

    FB Schedules

    Boise State, Cincinnati Schedules 2019, 20 Home-and-Home Series

    Forbes

    The Best and Worst College Football Teams for the Money

    USA Today

    Report: Colleges doing poorly at hiring women coaches

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Randolph named AAC Player of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC women's basketball knocks off Ohio State

    Bleacher Report

    Belk Bowl 2013: Cincinnati-North Carolina

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Belk Bowl: UC vs. UNC

    ESPN

    Belk Bowl Breakdown

    BelkBowl.com

    The Showdown is Set

    ESPN

    Cards, Bearcats set for defensive battle

    CBS Sports

    Louisville-Cincinnati Preview

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thursday is UC's fight for perception

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Don't let UC's next opponent fool you

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC jumps to No. 23 in USA Today football poll

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats break into USA Today Top 25

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    McKay turns in monster game against Rutgers

    ESPN

    Kay throws for 408 yards, 4 TDs as Cincinnati routs Rutgers

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats won't lessen the pressure

    News & Record

    Pressure takes toll on NC State against Cincinnati

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats face variety of bowl scenarios

    The News Record

    UC weary of SMU's aerial attack ahead of AAC clash

    Bleacher Report

    Best College Football Moments in Cincinnati History

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Mark Barr returns to UC, gets ovation

    HoustonDynamo.com

    After frustrating year, Omar Cummings puts Houston Dynamo on his back with clutch playoff goal

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC's Shaq Thomas 'our version of Herb Jones'

    USA Today

    Cincinnati holds off Memphis for third straight

    ESPN

    Cincinnati's Mark Barr out of hospital

    TopDrawer Soccer

    Furman and Cincinnati men go nose-for-nose in College Goal of the Week

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Green seizing his moment for the Bearcats

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermaine Lawrence is new breed of forward

    UC Magazine

    Hostility to Hope: Feature on Men's Soccer Player John Manga

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Jermiah Davis III fights to be remembered

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats' Justin Jackson goes from energizer to example

    The News Record

    Cronin excited for new group

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    UC Bearcats' Sean Kilpatrick: 'It's the season now'

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats basketball will have fresh look

    The News Record

    UC Looks to RetainVictory Bell for Eighth Consecutive Season

    Miami Herald

    Kay Ready to Lead Bearcats into Rivalry Game

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Former Bearcat Thompkins making most of shot in NFL

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    New practice setup could benefit UC basketball

    ESPN.com

    Munchie Legaux out for season

    ESPN.com

    Cincinnati Rolls Past Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Bearcats defense puts up dominant effort

    American Athletic Conference

    2013 Team Previews: Cincinnati Bearcats

    Sports Illustrated

    Bowl projections: Cincinnati vs. North Carolina in the Russell Athletic Bowl

    Cincinnati Business Courier

    Bearcats sell out football opener against Purdue

    Cincinnati Enquirer

    Depth at defensive line still strong for Bearcats

    Bleacher Report

    Cincinnati Bearcats Football 2013 Team Preview

    UC Voted 2nd

    Coach Tuberville and his players discuss their reactions to being voted to finish 2nd in the inaugural season of the American Athletic Conference

    QB Timetable

    Coach Tuberville discusses his timetable to choose a starting QB with The Cincinnati Enquirer

    Thompkins at Patriots' Training Camp

    Former UC wide receiver, Kenbrell Thompkins, impressed many at Patriots' training camp 

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas

    World University Games

    Sean Kilpatrick talks about his experience overseas 

    Nippert Renovation Plan

    The Cincinnati Enquirer looks at the Nippert Stadium Project

    Cincinnati football's 'Crocodile Dundee'

    A former professional rugby player from Australia joins the Bearcat football team

    2013 Preseason 'Watch List' 

    Several Cincinnati Bearcats make 2013 national 'watch list'

    Sports Insider Today

    Young Cincinnati Team Looks to Improve in 2013 Amidst New Conference Setting

    ESPN Blog

    Cincinnati to play Pitt in December

    GoBEARCATS.com

    Former Bearcat Herman Qualifies for U.S. Open

    USA Today

    BearcatsTV Gets National Attention from USA Today's For the Win

    SportingNews.com

    Cincinnati Bearcats Baseball Earns Top Honors in Videobombing

    The Washington Post

    Cincinnati Bearcats Do the Best Postgame Interviews

    Fox Sports

    Bearcats Rock Postgame Interviews

    Philly.com

    Cincinnati Bearcats Revolutionize the Post Game Interview

    YardBarker

    You'll love this Cincinnati Bearcats Post Game Funny Business Compilation

    Philly.com

    Those guys having all the fun: An oral history of the Cincinnati baseball team's videobombs

    MSN Now

    This college baseball team wins the 'best interview' award

    ESPN.com

    Winn, Cincinnati run over Pittsburgh

    Cincinnati.com Bearcats Blog

    Cincinnati looks to sophomore RB Ralph Abernathy to increase production